Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has played down suggestions that his side can challenge the top four places this season.
After a slow start to the season, the Reds have improved in recent weeks and their 1-1 draw at Chelsea on Sunday afternoon leaves them 12th in the Premier League table, eight points off the fourth Champions League spot, currently occupied by Merseyside rivals Everton.
However, Rodgers has been quick to dismiss the prospects of a European charge, instead arguing that a simple improvement on last season’s eighth-placed finish in the league would make a “fantastic” season for the club.
“We finished eighth last year,” Rodgers told reports.
“If we can improve on that, it’ll be fantastic for us. That’s the reality of where Liverpool are I’m afraid. I knew it would be a difficult year given the expectancy in Liverpool. But our young players will get better and better.
“They’re very educated, Liverpool supporters,” the Northern Irishman added.
“It can’t be easy for them. Most of us know Liverpool and its great history, but we can’t keep looking in the rear view mirror and looking back. The supporters are being very lenient with myself and the team, and I’m sure they’ll be frustrated sometimes, but their support has been incredible.”
Rodgers went on to voice his desire for more investment at Anfield from the club’s owners, beginning in the January transfer window, if Liverpool are to challenge for honours.
“The reality is we’re a long way off in the league,” he continued.
“I’m not going to say the word ‘challenging’. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see the squad. These guys are giving me everything. Look at Chelsea, with Eden Hazard and their investment.”
Given the paucity of his squad numbers, Rodgers has handed a number of young players their debuts for the club so far this season, with the likes of Andre Wisdom, Suso, Jonjo Shelvey and Raheem Sterling all cementing themselves in the first-team squad.
“If you’re not going to have a massive investment to make it happen quickly, you have to develop it,” added Rodgers.
“That’s where we’re at. Those players don’t come cheap, and there are not too many available in January either.
“We need materials. If we can get one or two in January, we’ll turn draws into wins. The owners have given me great support since I’ve been here.”